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Victor’s Body: Male Hysteria and Homoeroticism in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Kenneth Branagh’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the male body in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, first published in 1818, and Kenneth Branagh’s film Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, released in 1994. So doing, the thesis focuses on the analysis of hysteria and homoeroticism in three male-male relationships: Victor and the monster, Victor and Walton, and Victor and Clerval. The main argument claims that, in the novel, Victor Frankenstein displays symptoms of male hysteria, which result from his repressing homoerotic desire and give evidence of male embodiment. It is not possible for Victor to repress bodily needs in the long run, and he experiences and reacts to the world with his body and mind. In the film, on the other hand, Victor’s heterosexuality is emphasised and he is depicted as a strong, powerful man rather than a nervous member of the upper class. The divergences between the representations of the male body in the primary texts, the thesis argues, reflect different ideas about the male body in the 1810s and 1990s. Although the image of the muscular and masculine, heterosexual man that was prevalent in the 1990s was already in the making in the 1810s, it was not as consolidated.

The discussion of masculinity from a historical perspective makes use of Michel Foucault’s outline of the history of sexuality, Mark S. Micale’s account of hysteria and George L. Mosse’s ideas about masculinity. For a differentiated analysis of male-male relationships, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s continuum of male homosocial desire is drawn on.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 85 p.
Keyword [en]
hysteria, homoeroticism, homosexuality, male body, masculinity, gender, Foucault, Sedgwick
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-32306OAI: diva2:696428
Subject / course
Available from: 2014-02-14 Created: 2014-02-13 Last updated: 2014-02-14Bibliographically approved

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